After Las Vegas & Texas Mass Shootings, The House Passed A Bill To Loosen Gun Restrictions

AP
House Judiciary Committee meets to craft a Republican bill to expand gun owners' rights, the first gun legislation since mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas killed more than 80 people.

Just two months after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history and a month after a shooting massacre inside a church, the House passed Wednesday a Republican backed bill that would allow individuals with concealed carry permits — even those with violent criminal histories — to carry firearms across state lines.

In a move that has outraged gun control advocates, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 was tacked onto the Fix NICS Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation aimed at fixing the background check system.

“Your fundamental right to keep and bear arms should not end at the state line,” the NRA said in a statement on their website about the bill.

However, advocates for gun reform have starkly different views on the bill.

"This is an NRA bill that's really their dream and it's a nightmare for public safety," Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action, said in an interview with Refinery29. "Basically, it makes the lowest common denominator of public safety applicable throughout the country."

Gun laws vary wildly state to state; under the CCR act, state laws would be overridden and a person would be allowed to carry a weapon in any state as long as they have a valid concealed carry permit and photo identification.

Federal law already has many loopholes in who can and cannot own a firearm. In particular, those with domestic violence convictions and are banned from owning a weapon could benefit under this new law.

'"Concealed carry reciprocity (CCR)' is a complicated name for a law that would make it simple for abusers to threaten and harass — and kill — their intimate partners with firearms," the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence said in a statement on their website. "Survivors often relocate to other states to escape their abusers, but H.R. 38 would force every state to accept other states' concealed carry permits, even if the out-of-state permit was issued to a domestic abusers who would be prohibited from obtaining such a permit in the travel state."

Twelve states do not require a permit at all or any sort of training to carry a weapon.

The bill comes at a moment when the Justice Department is considering banning bump stocks, an attachment used by the shooter to make his gun fire like an automatic weapon.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, along with 16 other attorney generals, signed a letter urging Congress to shoot the bill down.

The bill has also given pause to those working in law enforcement.

“New York City’s well-recognized success in the continued decrease in shootings and murder is in no small part a result of effective control of guns on our streets," New York City Police Department Commissioner James P. O’Neill said in a statement. "Any measures that would contribute to the increase of firearms in New York could only jeopardize the level of safety that New Yorkers have benefited from through effective gun control. This proposed bill creates a real risk to public safety.”

"[The bill is] bad for public safety in general and makes the job of a police officer who’s trying to take illegal guns off the street more difficult because now she/he doesn’t just have 1 gun license to recognize, but 50," a person within law enforcement and spoke under the condition of anonymity told Refinery29. "It also means cops in every jurisdiction are facing more guns against them. It increases the chances that the person a police officer is dealing with is carrying a gun."

The bill is now going to the Senate, where it is unclear if it will pass.

“Congress has failed the American people. After two of our nation's worst mass shootings, Congress took direct instruction from the gun lobby and passed a bill that will override existing state laws and allow dangerous, untrained people to carry guns in every state and every city," former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords said in an emailed statement to Refinery29.

"I'm angry that House Republicans are trying to sink a genuine bipartisan solution to problems with our background check system. I'm angry that the Senate is avoiding responsibility for limiting bump stocks. I'm angry that when this country is begging for courage from our leaders, they are responding with cowardice," the statement continued.

This story was originally published on December 6, 2017 at 2:52 p.m. It has since been updated.

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